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Manugistics sacks its president

Company gives Jeremy Coote the boot, as another JC--Joe Cowan--absorbs his new role as CEO.

Software maker Manugistics has fired its president, whose brief stint at the company failed to buoy the company's sinking stock price or increase its dwindling revenue.

The Rockville, Md., company disclosed its termination of software industry veteran Jeremy Coote this week in a regulatory filing. Coote joined Manugistics as president just more than a year ago. His departure, effective Tuesday, comes about a month after newcomer Joe Cowan stepped in as chief executive.

"In the current environment, (Cowan) doesn't require a president," Manugistics spokeswoman Sheila Blackwell said. "He'll be more hands-on."

The new CEO will take over Coote's responsibilities, Blackwell said. Coote's termination was not acrimonious, Blackwell added.

Manugistics has fallen on hard times, as businesses have cut spending on information technology over the past few years. While many software companies are feeling the pain, Manugistics has had a particularly rough year. Its revenues tumbled in the spring, sending the firm into the red. The company's stock has been in a slide all year, from a high of $9.10 per share in January to a closing price of $2.30 on Tuesday, dropping a penny on the news of Coote's departure.

The company specializes in supply chain software, complex programs designed to help manufacturers keep track of supplies and coordinate factory work. With its focus on manufacturers, Manugistics is more vulnerable to slack demand in that sector than are rivals such as Oracle and SAP, which also make products for services firms and government agencies.

The company may suffer because of Coote's departure in the short term, because other executives there who are loyal to him may follow, JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens wrote in a research note.

"(In the) longer term, Coote's departure may work out favorably, given that the new CEO, Joe Cowan, has many of the same sales, marketing and operational skills," Walravens wrote.

Walravens also reduced his firm's third-quarter revenue and earnings estimate for the company and said Manugistics may lay off 20 percent to 25 percent of its 867 workers in a major restructuring effort later this year. Manugistics spokeswoman Blackwell declined to comment on the report.

Coote's career has included years in executive positions at business software firms. Before joining Manugistics, he was second in command at SAP America, the North American subsidiary of Germany's software goliath. Coote was also general manager of Siebel Systems' North American operations.